There are many traditions that go with the Japanese New Year celebrations. The end of December and the beginning of January is the busiest time for the post office because of the tradition of sending New Year’s post cards, like sending Christmas cards in the US.
(Correction - New Year’s Eve night we went to the Buddhist temple, not shrine, as I mistakenly wrote in my post yesterday.)
Firsts in the new year are important. Hatsumode is the first visit to the Shrine in the new year, so Ted and I went on New Year’s Day also. Some shrines have millions of visitors. It was very crowded and the line was long at the one we went to, which gave us plenty of time to observe. There was one section with food vendors of carnival type food. The corn dog booth had “French Dogs” written in English on their sign.
|The food court|
|Coming and going|
There was another place where you could buy your fortune, called Omikuji, which predicts how you will do in business and love in the next year. If the prediction is bad, you tie it to a tree on the shrine grounds to prevent it from coming true. To be on the safe side, we tied ours on the rack because we didn’t know if it was good or bad.
In another area was the purification pool, where you could wash away the previous year, so we did that too.
We saw one little dog in line and he barked at us. The funny thing was that the dog barked in English and not Japanese.
I’ve been working on the wing, and although I still have a lot to do, it’s coming along.
Happy New Year – the year of the Dragon!